I suppose that if I ever tried it or if it had a name that did not sound like something out of Blade Runner I would have less of a fascination with that fluid in Japan that is called “third category beer.” This article in the The The Daily Yomiuri, however, is full of tidbits that make me wonder what this stuff is really like:
“Faced with gasoline and food price hikes, consumers are looking for better deals on some products. Third-category beer, which is often made from soybeans, corn and peas, is priced cheaper than regular beer and happoshu low-malt beer. Beverage makers are fiercely competing to keep prices low, while trying to produce tastes close to that of regular beer. The key to third-category beer’s success is the low price, and shipments surpassed those of happoshu beer in May. A 350-milliliter can of third-category beer sells for about 140 yen at convenience stores, about 20 yen less than happoshu and 75 yen less than regular beer.”
How excellent: “…close to that of regular beer.” Yum. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had similar clarity in our macro-brewing? How many beers would have to call themselves happoshu that now hold themselves out to be beer from barley?
There is much to learn with the new and beautiful administration system that my blog masters have blessed me with today. I am now able to manage comments with four status levels which are selectable specifically for each comment. I can set a time for a post to appear later. I have a specific podcast file upload display as well as the ability to select from among different visual themes for the blog. I also upload photos per post and not first to a folder tree from which I then associate it with a post. This is excellent. I have to learn the XHTML tags finally, my use of 2001 era tags now being out dated. Bear with me.
David, there is an RRS comments feed to the lower right. Look between the archives and the search.
Spending the day with the kids at the Toronto Zoo on a field trip, I thought on the way back I would pop into County Durham Brewing in Pickering just to grab a few brew and have a chat with brewer, Bruce Halstead. Instead, I got a brief glimpse into the most trim and most successful small Canadian breweries I have ever seen.
County Durham seems to be a one man operation – all Bruce all the time. When I got to the door he took a break from cleaning the place but had to explain that there wasn’t even any beer to buy as he is casking it all for pubs entirely within the downtown of Toronto, half an hour’s drive away. In the past he had been servicing accounts in St. Catherine’s and Hamilton but has found success supplying the high standards of the beer geekdom of Canada’s biggest city. He has a van but, unlike other regional brewers, doesn’t have to spend half his week delivering to spread out customers. It’s one van load a week, one trip into town. He did mention he need a bigger van.
Another thing that makes County Durham’s brews stand out is that they are the only brewery in Ontario – and perhaps further afield regionally – that uses only whole hops. Bruce works with one farmer in the US north-west and has developed a relationship that has provided him with the quality and supply that perfectly fits his needs. I wish I could have tried some. But it was all gone out the door or heading that way.
A niche market that overtime has evolved to suit a very profitable small brewery. What any community could do with. Bruce mentioned a number of pubs where I could get his fresh beer any time, like C’est What or Volo. Trouble is they were all in the community half an hour in the other direction to the one I was heading in. He does supply the LCBO with two ales, C’est What Homegrown Hemp Ale and County Durham Signature Ale, but he needs to replenish those stocks as well.
Busy enough to be right at the edge, County Durham has to be one of Ontario’s more interesting success stories.
I don’t usually get caught up in the bashing of various news sources. The Toronto Star gets its share of grief from folks with a variety of levels with incoherent thought – leaving the brighter stuttering when they see the error of their ways. But this column/article/piece, for me, is worth a bit of finger pointery:
He brings to Canada his message that Barack Obama’s desire to unilaterally renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement damages relations between steadfast allies and he will highlight the benefits of the trilateral deal in his speech Friday at an Ottawa hotel. The Conservative government in Ottawa and the Canadian Embassy in Washington are seeking as much cover as possible from the McCain visit, but the optics hurt Prime Minister Stephen Harper and everyone around him. Having the man most Canadians would see as the embodiment of the third George W. Bush term extolling your policies is no favour for the Conservative government.
Most Canadians?!? First, I would think most Canadians really have no opinion on McCain and his position on Canadian policy. Most Canadians think BBQ is a chicken wiener on a hibachi. We like to talk up how much we know about the US but most Canadians are fairly ignorant generally of our neighbour’s governance and specifically who John McCain is. Second, Canadians will gush because US breakfast TV shows may be broadcasting from Canada. Nothing excites Canucks as much as being noticed by US media. Canada could be on fire from coast-to-coast but, as long as there were US camera crews up here, there would be a silver lining. Third, Canada has done very well under trade agreements – as long as we didn’t have an artificially inflated dollar primed by speculators pumping up the cost of a barrel of oil to the benefit of the few.
So why do the optics hurt – why would Harper hide? – well, you know other than he seems to always hide as a first tactic. Sure his policies are a bit anti-trade, ensuring the short term gains for commodity vendors are undermining the solid economic gains made for twenty years in the 80 cent dollar world. Even if you aren’t conservative don’t you like your conservatives standing up for themselves proudly?
Or maybe it’s because McCain was an activist for funding reform and bipartisan cooperation. Maybe it’s because McCain is the sort of politician who Canadians want – engaging and fiscally conservative but a bit of a red Tory in some areas social and libertarian in others. Maybe it’s because McCain knows how to smile. Maybe because side-by-side Harper does not look as good to Canadians as his putative US right-wing counterpart.
About 35 years ago when George Carlin used to appear on TV’s Sonny and Cher Show and things like that, he used to pretend he was doing a TV news anchor man reporting on quirky items – the sort of thing SNL ripped off a few years later. Once he told this joke: “Scientists have discovered that saliva causes cancer – but fortunately only when taken in small amounts over a long period of time.”